‘It’s not personal!’ IEC tells Zuma ahead of ConCourt appeal on Friday

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says their decision to appeal against the candidacy of former President Jacob Zuma's eligibility to run for the elections was not personal.Last month, the Electoral Court ruled that the former president, who is now the leader of the MK Party, could stand in the elections despite being handed a 15-month prison sentence by the Constitutional Court, in June 2021. The IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi said they were approaching the apex court to bring finality on the matter as it had constitutional implications for the role of the commission.The IEC believes strongly that the ruling of the Electoral Court was problematic for the work of the IEC.“The fact that the commission is appealing, it is not because of the personalities involved, but it is because it understands that the decision of the Electoral Court has implications of constitutional matters that implicate the role and obligations of the commission,” he said.Sheburi was speaking at an elections workshop with the SA National Editors Forum in Rosebank on Wednesday.He explained that the ConCourt matter on Friday would have no implications for the ballot paper during the May 29 election.He said the ballot paper had been finalised, and that the election lists would remain closed no matter the ruling from the apex court. “The court case on Friday relates to the eligibility or otherwise of a candidate to stand for elections. “The commission is obligated to ensure that parties must meet certain requirements, register with the IEC, pay deposits and submit their lists,” said Sheburi.He said the IEC was obligated to ensure that “every candidate must qualify for National Assembly”.“One of the requirements is that IEC must field candidates qualified in terms of the constitution. Our understanding is that only Section 47 and Section 106 applies. Once an objection is raised, we have to adjudicate,” he said.Sheburi said they received two objections pertaining to Zuma, which cited Section 47(1)(e) of the constitution, which prohibits persons who have a custodial sentence exceeding 12 month from becoming members of the National Assembly. "In the court on Friday, there are two issues, the conviction and remission of sentence. This is about whether the remission changes the conviction or impacts the time served.“The second question is about whether Section 47(1)(e) of the constitution has application, because the constitutional court is the apex court and cannot be appealed. The other issues are peripheral, it will be the theatrics of lawyers,” said Sheburi.The apex court is expected to hear arguments on whether the former president is eligible to stand for elections on Friday, May 10.Zuma served an effective three months of his 15 month prison sentence before President Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola granted him and over 9,000 other prisoners, a special remission of sentence due to overcrowding of the prisons. He had been freed on medical parole but the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that this process had been unlawful. kamogelo.moichela@iol.co.za/sihle.mlambo@iol.co.zaIOL Politics

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‘It’s not personal!’ IEC tells Zuma ahead of ConCourt appeal on Friday

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says their decision to appeal against the candidacy of former President Jacob Zuma's eligibility to run for the elections was not personal.

Last month, the Electoral Court ruled that the former president, who is now the leader of the MK Party, could stand in the elections despite being handed a 15-month prison sentence by the Constitutional Court, in June 2021.

The IEC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi said they were approaching the apex court to bring finality on the matter as it had constitutional implications for the role of the commission.

The IEC believes strongly that the ruling of the Electoral Court was problematic for the work of the IEC.

“The fact that the commission is appealing, it is not because of the personalities involved, but it is because it understands that the decision of the Electoral Court has implications of constitutional matters that implicate the role and obligations of the commission,” he said.

Sheburi was speaking at an elections workshop with the SA National Editors Forum in Rosebank on Wednesday.

He explained that the ConCourt matter on Friday would have no implications for the ballot paper during the May 29 election.

He said the ballot paper had been finalised, and that the election lists would remain closed no matter the ruling from the apex court.

“The court case on Friday relates to the eligibility or otherwise of a candidate to stand for elections.

“The commission is obligated to ensure that parties must meet certain requirements, register with the IEC, pay deposits and submit their lists,” said Sheburi.

He said the IEC was obligated to ensure that “every candidate must qualify for National Assembly”.

“One of the requirements is that IEC must field candidates qualified in terms of the constitution. Our understanding is that only Section 47 and Section 106 applies. Once an objection is raised, we have to adjudicate,” he said.

Sheburi said they received two objections pertaining to Zuma, which cited Section 47(1)(e) of the constitution, which prohibits persons who have a custodial sentence exceeding 12 month from becoming members of the National Assembly.

"In the court on Friday, there are two issues, the conviction and remission of sentence. This is about whether the remission changes the conviction or impacts the time served.

“The second question is about whether Section 47(1)(e) of the constitution has application, because the constitutional court is the apex court and cannot be appealed. The other issues are peripheral, it will be the theatrics of lawyers,” said Sheburi.

The apex court is expected to hear arguments on whether the former president is eligible to stand for elections on Friday, May 10.

Zuma served an effective three months of his 15 month prison sentence before President Cyril Ramaphosa and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola granted him and over 9,000 other prisoners, a special remission of sentence due to overcrowding of the prisons.

He had been freed on medical parole but the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that this process had been unlawful.

kamogelo.moichela@iol.co.za/sihle.mlambo@iol.co.za

IOL Politics

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